LOS BANOS – Xiandi Chua, Mishka Sy, and Filipino-American swimmer Miranda Renner shared the golden spotlight for the country in Day 2 of the 42nd Southeast Asia Age Group Swimming Championships on Saturday at the Trace Aquatics Center here.
After ruling the girls 16-18 200-meter individual medley during the opening on Friday, Chua added the 200-meter backstroke mint to her haul, surging in the last 25 meters to win in a time of two minutes and 21.98 seconds, relegating Indon rival Azzarah Permatahani to the silver again (2:22.41) in the competition supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Finis Philippines and Boysen Paints.
Thailand’s Fonpray Yamsuan (2:23..14) settled for the bronze in the meet organized by the Philippine Swimming Inc., the country’s aquatics body recognized by the International Swimming Federation and the Asia Swimming Federation.
Chua garnered a silver medal later in the day in the 400-meter IM race with a personal best time of 4:57.50, which, however, was not enough in beating Permatahani, who handily won the gold (4:53.17) while Vietnam’s Linh Mai Thi Linh (5:01.83) was third in the three-day meet also backed by Enoc Lubricants, Wilcon Depot, and Arena Phils.
After falling short of a bronze in the 100-meter backstroke, Sy went all out in her one and only remaining event, nosing out Thailand’s Jinjutha Pholjamjumrus in a down-the-wire battle royale in the girls 13-and-under 200-meter backstroke in 2:27.34 to the latter’s 2:27.51.
Her winning time sunk the old two-year-old mark of 2:28.69 set by Bhay Maitland Newberry in the swimfest likewise sponsored by Club 30 Golf Plus, Orocan Phils. Tajima Phils, Twin Oaks Sucere Corp, and Vics Construction Supply.
“I was so close to winning (a bronze) yesterday so gave my best today because this was my one remaining individual race,” said Sy, a former Milo Little Olympics swimming standout, who slashed an eye-popping nine seconds off her previous personal best of 2:36.23 in clinching the gold.
On the other hand, it was an early birthday celebration for Renner, who won a riveting down-the-wire contest in the girls 16-18 year-old 50-meter butterfly contest in 28.23 seconds, nipping teammate Regina Maria Paz Castrillo (28.36) and Indonesian Adinda Larassati Dewi (28.54), who bagged the silver and bronze, respectively.
“This was a very exciting race, considering that this was my first gold in the SEA Age. What a great birthday gift” noted Renner, who is celebrating her 17th birthday on Sunday, now based in Santa Monica, California.
With the three added mints, Filipino campaigners had already matched the four golds of their predecessors in last year’s edition of the age group swimming showcase held in Brunei last year on top of exceeding the previous medal tally with seven more silvers and four bronzes after the second day of action.
The country had four golds, 9 silvers and seven bronzes, a total of 21 in all, in 41st SEA Age while the Pinoy tankers had 22 medals thus far going into the last day of the event also sponsored by Summit Mineral Water, Innoland Development Corp., Oh So Healthy Fruit Crisps, COL Financials and Wengman Sports Apparel.
Among those who were tantalizingly close once again in getting gold were Fil-Am Jonathan Cook and Jahlil Sephraim Taguinod in the boys 16-18-year-old and boys 13-under 100-meter breaststroke, respectively.
Relegated to the first heat with slow swimmers since he was making his debut in the tournament, Cook was hardly challenged but still clocked 1:03.58, three-tenths of a second behind Vietnam gold medalist Pham Thanh Bao Bao, who was grouped with the faster tankers, (1:03.58).
“If I was in the same (fast) group, I believe the Vietnamese who would have been chasing me,” said the 18-year-old Stanford freshman, whose personal best in the event is 1:03, of his second silver in the competition.
Nonetheless, Cook could console himself by the fact that he smashed the 12-year-old junior mark of 1:07.45 set by Gerard Bordado.
Taguinod also suffered the same fate in his age-group, clinching his second individual gold in 1:10.19 behind Vietnamese winner Le Trong Phuc Phuc (1:09.91).